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simone54's avatar

Should I visit Inyo Nation Forest or Sequoia National Park?

Asked by simone54 (7560 points ) February 22nd, 2014

I’m doing a camping road trip in California. Yosemite is already booked but I don’t know where to go next. We’ll be heading south. We could either go to Inyo National Forest (and see Bristlecone Pines) or Sequoia National Park (and see, well, Sequoias).

It’s they’re actually right next to each other but there is no pass through the mountain range.

I guess it would be cool to see Mt. Whitney but I’m not sure which is closer.

Any ideas from people who have been there?

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15 Answers

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have. Go to Sequoia National park. Rent a car. It’s amazing.

Brian1946's avatar

From where are you heading south?

Mt. Whitney and the Bristlecone Pine Forest are both accessible from US 395, but according to this, “Winter storms close the White Mountain Road during winter months and into the spring”.

The Forest Service recommends that you call their recorded information line at 760–873-2500 for current road closures, conditions and opening/closing dates for the visitor center.

dxs's avatar

Sequoias are really cool. It was a pretty interesting area. It makes you feel really small. At the park, there was a sideways sequoia that was decaying that you could walk through like a tunnel. It was so long that you couldn’t even see the light at the other end!

zenvelo's avatar

Both are well worth seeing. It really depends on where you’re starting, and are you going into the back-country with backpack, or are you staying with your car?

Inyo Nat’l Forest gets you to Devils Postpile Nat’l Monument, and to southern portions of the John Muir Trail. I backpacked there a few times when I was younger, hiking into Mt. Ritter/Banner Peak. It’s even nice driving there because you’re on the eastern, barely populated side of the Sierra.

Sequoia is also beautiful, and much more convenient if you are staying with a car and staying in lodging or even tent cabins. The Fresno/Visalia area is not very interesting to travel through, but well worth it to get to the park.

jonsblond's avatar

I have fond memories of visiting both as a child. I think you’ll be happy with either choice. (can I come along?)

Coloma's avatar

The Sequoias are amazing, I’d go for Sequoia park myslef.

simone54's avatar

I left some details out. I will be starting in Yosemite then doing south back toward home in San Diego.

We will be driving a car and camping in tents.

Brian1946's avatar

Tioga Road (Route 120) is probably closed, so your only exits from Yosemite will be to Route 99, which is the highway you’d take to reach Sequoia NP anyway.

A trip from Yosemite to the Bristlecone Pine Forest and then back home is about 600 miles farther. Although this would give you a view of Mt. Whitney, you’d be seeing the same scenery in an anticlimactic sequence on the way back, so I also recommend going to Sequoia.

simone54's avatar

A-ha I left out for important things. I won’t be going until this summer.

Brian1946's avatar

In that case, why not do both?

You could drive up to Sequoia via the 99, go to Yosemite after that, leave Yosemite over the 120 to the 395, and south from there to the BP Forest.

simone54's avatar

Not a bad idea but I’m going up the coast first. San Luis Obispo, Big Sur and San Francisco, then Yosemite.

Brian1946's avatar

Yosemite also has a nice grove of sequoias.

You could leave Yosemite via the 120, which is a marvelously scenic drive, including Tuolumne Meadows. Along the way you’ll also see Tenaya Lake and Tioga Pass, which at 9941 feet, is the highest paved road in CA.

From there you could continue east on 120 and then south on 395 to the BP Forest. From there you could continue south on 395, which will take you by Mt. Whitney. You might already know this, but when Mt. Whitney is seen from Lone Pine, it’s not as prominent as Lone Pine Peak, which is the mountain to the left of Whitney in this photo.

Lone Pine Peak is about 5 miles closer to the 395 than Whitney. Because of that, LP Peak appears to be taller, even though Whitney is almost 1,600 feet higher. As a result of that, some people mistake LP Peak for Whitney, which is the peak on the right in the photo with two spires on its left.

simone54's avatar

Done. Sequoia it is!

dxs's avatar

Hooray! Have fun!

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